tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN July 7, 2009 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT
>> i think that's a fair statement, senator. >> let me ask you just to comment -- to go back to what i said at the beginning and just describe in the time that's left on my questioning period, why you reach the judgment on behalf of the administration or the president ultimately reached the judgment that these cases that we're talking about should not primarily go to our federal courts? >> well, as you probably know, the president signed an zeck philadelphia order mandating review of each detainee's
situation. that review is ongoing, and as you've seen in at least one instance a detainee who had a pending military commission's case against him was frfered for prosecution in the southern district of new york -- transferred for prosecution in the southern district of new york. i have think it's fair to say what the president and the administration said is that they should be tried for violations of the law of war. that the more appropriate form, dependent upon a variety of factors, in some situations you have a situation where a detainee has violated both title 18 and the laws of war
stay that way. i couldn't say the review is ongoing. >> thanks. i want to just close the previous question because my time is up which is i think the committee has made the right judgment in saying that the right of appeal from the military commission should be to the u.s. court of appeals for the armed forces and that there shouldn't be an appeal to the circuit court for d.c. thank you. >> thank you, senator lieberman. senator graham. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to compliment you and senator mccain for trying to come up with a new bill. i think it would help the country if we could reform the process. i think we're very close to a bill that we can be proud of. about the appeals, the main thing for the public to understand is that any verdict rendered in a military commission trial will work its way into the civilian courts, is that correct? >> yes, sir. >> so no one will be imprisoned in this country based on a military commission's verdict until they have their day in court? >> yes. >> when it comes to the idea of
location, the courtroom at gaunt bay is ue -- guantanamo bay is uniquely set up to do these trials. i'm not so sure after the supreme court decisions treating guantanamo bay as an extension of the united states would matter greatly. so like senator mccain, i'd like to know how location would matter. admiral macdonald, one of the issues we're grappling with is the material support for them. it is not a traditional charge under the law of armed conflict. but under the military code of justice we incorporate the assimilated crimes act. could that doctrine be used here? >> yes, sir. you could incorporate it under title 18 assimilated crimes act into the usmj. >> and getting back to your point, some of these people can be charged under both sets of
laws, is that what you are trying to tell us? >> yes. >> now, mr. kris, do you agree with that theory, that we can use the assimilated crimes doctrine using the title 18 offense? >> i think you can do that as a former matter. there still remains the question whether material support was a law of war under that label or under a different label. >> totally agree with that debate. but if you were able to incorporate title 18 offenses that would solve this issue, isn't that correct? >> to the extent that it's a viable law for offense. >> ok. thank you. >> now when it comes to evidentiary standards, are you familiar with the hate standards when they try war criminals? >> i am not. >> well, one thing i would suggest you look at, i think our here say rules are different, isn't that correct -- do you agree admiral macdonald? >> that is correct. we looked at the tribunal for are a waunda and for ewing
sloffia -- rwanda and for yugoslavia. >> and what do they use for the accused? >> it's the reliability. >> ok. >> of the statement. >> the point i'm making to the committee if you compare our military commission system, particularly the reform version, to an international court trial at the hague, we're much more for plaque of a better word liberal in terms of providing due process and protections to the accused than you would get if you would go to the hague. and i have no problem with that, quite frankly. i think that's a good thing. now, let's get back to what the courts are likely to look at in a military commission trial, mr. kris. i think the debate is a bit confusing. it's not so much whether the individual accused has a constitutional status as an american citizen, but the courts will look at these trials in terms of due process and they will make a judgment
as to whether or not it meets some minimum standard expected of the american court, is that correct? >> that's essentially exactly what i was saying to the senator. >> that is correct. when you look at the history of the military commissions, the world war german trials is not exactly the showcase you would want to use. those trials were conducted in a matter of days, from the time the evidence was received, to judgment was rendered. and they passed scrutiny but i think when we look back in time that's not something we'd want to repeat, is that your opinion? >> i think i guess i essentially agree with what you said and i think justice scalia heard to the case as the court's not finest hour. i think there is question whether you could apply those precedence straight on given recent developments in the law. >> do you have a problem with the totality of the circumstances to us if we fill in the blanks in terms of admission of statements? >> no, on the contrary. i think the totality test is
the right test. of course, the administration's position is that it should be used to determine voluntaryness. albeit voluntaryness as it reflects wartime situation. i think the totality of the circumstance is something what the judge would look like. >> in terms of an article 3 trial and a military commission trial, one of the biggest concerns we have as a nation, mr. johnson, what percentage of the guantanamo bay detainees do you believe will be held off the battlefield but never go to an article 3 court or military commission trial? >> well, a percentage or a number is tough to say at this point, senator. as i mentioned a moment ago, our review of these detainees is ongoing. i do any that we should all assume for purposes of national security and the protection of the american people there will be at the end of this review a category of people that we in
the administration believe must be retained for reasons of public safety and national security. and they're not necessarily people that we'll prosecute. >> either the evidence is not the type you would take beyond a reasonable doubt trial or has some national security implications? and i'd like to finish on this note. admiral macdonald, under domestic criminal law, is there any theory that would justify an indefinite detention of a criminal suspect without a trial? >> in our own domestic law, not that i know of, senator? >> in the military setting, it is a permissible behavior of a country to hold someone under the theory that they're a belligerent enemy combatant if the evidence justifies that finding? >> yes, sir, it is. that is a recognized principle in the law of war. >> do you agree with that, mr. johnson? >> yes. the supreme court held that in
2004. >> do you agree with that, mr. kris? >> yes, i agree with mr. johnson, yes. >> so to conclude, the only theory that would allow this country to indefinitely detain someone without a criminal trial would be the fact that we would find them to be part of the enemy force, they're still dangerous and they're not subject to being released, is that correct? a process that would render that decision? >> i'm not sure that dangerousness is even part of the initial judgment under the -- >> that's true, it's not required. >> i mean, i think their status and that is being litigated in other cases and i think the court said at some point that authorities detained could run out. but essentially i agree with what you're saying, yes. >> thank you. >> thank you. senator ben nelson. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think what you said in terms of geography is that -- well,
let me ask -- does geography matter in terms of article 3 or geography may matter? in other words, where these military commissions hearings are held if outside the continental united states then perhaps a u.s. court would not or could i say could not intervene to provide extra protections under the constitution? mr. kris? >> the analysis really depends upon a variety of factors. and it may be -- i think it is the case that geography would have some impact on it. but it is very difficult to be precise and to predict exactly
what would happen. >> would there be a difference between guantanamo and bagram base? in terms of geography and what the courts may do in regards to an article 2 hearing? >> that's a matter that's currently in litigation. so i think i want to just be very careful to say i think there could be some differences but probably not go much further than that. >> ok. mr. johnson, what are your thoughts about geography? >> senator, much of this is unchartered territory in the courts in terms of what rights, if any, would apply to these detainees. i would say that it's our view that the detainees would not -- whether in the united states or anyplace else do not enjoy the full plan and plea of constitutional rights that an american citizen in this country would enjoy. >> but on a continuum, what i
hear you saying is at the present time under the current law their rights are at this level, but it's not clear whether or not the courts could rule that the rights increase in numbers or in depth? >> well, let me try it this way. i think it is fair to say that it is our view that some level of a voluntariness requirement would be applied to statements that we would seek to offer in a military commission's case. military commission's prosecution. and that the expos facto clause would apply. if hype theyically these cases were prosecuted in the united states. i would note, however,es that in practice our military commission's judges have engaged in an expos facto case
in assessing the prosecuteability of these detainees at guantanamo. the judge went through that at guantanamo. i am advised that in practice many of our military judges have gone through the voluntariness exercise. >> can you speak to the progress of the guantanamo review task force? i think there were 779 people who were detained at the -- at guantanamo. 544, as i understand, have been transferred with 229 remaining. is that a fairly accurate number as far as you know? >> those numbers sound accurate to me, senator. >> do we know the status of the remaining detainees? i understand that there are those that could be tried under article 2 or 3 courts. do we know how many have already been determined to be,
let's say, under article 3? because i understand article 3 they would be coming to federal courts for prosecution. >> at this point we have not completed our reviews, so i don't have precise numbers for you. but i think it is fair to assume that at the end of the review we will have detainees in the five categories that the president outlined in his may 21 speech. there will be some prosecuted in article 3 or we would seek to prosecute in article 3. seven military commissions and some in that fifth category, some that are not prosecuted for various reasons, but for reasons of the safety of the american people and the national security we want to continue to detain pursuant to the authority granted by this congress, with the auim and the supreme court hearing. >> do you know when that review might be completed? >> before the end of the year. >> this year? >> yes, sir. >> ok.
admiral macdonald in your written testimony you addressed the proper amendment to the military commission's report or act reported out by your committee and indicated that for the most part addresses all of the matters that were of concern with regard to the 2006 military commission's act. beyond the two issues that you highlight in your testimony, are there any other matters that ought to be addressed? >> no, sir. those are the two that i was referring to that we were unable to get back in 2006. >> i suppose when they will hold the military try bunals, article 2 cases -- tribunals, article 2 cases, is it fair for me to ask what the military's view is where to hold these based on the fact that geography may matter? >> sir, there are no decisions
about that. congress and the splell that was recently passed asserted its rights and prerogatives to know what we have in mind in this regard. >> i suppose that's why i'm asking. >> yes. >> and no decisions have been made, and we continue to consider various options. >> and i assume there might be some advice and consent in conjunction with that? >> i think in the supplemental language you pretty much mandated that. >> ok. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator martinez. >> mr. chairman, thank you very much. mr. johnson, i'd like to ask -- how will the executive branch make a determination both who gets tried under article 3 and who may get tried under m.c.a.? >> senator, that is something that mr. kris and i have
actually been working on. as the representative of d.o.j. and i as representative of the department of defense, and as mr. kris stated, the president stated that where feasible we would seek to prosecute detainees in article 3 courts. we are working through an expression of factors. >> did you have a preference for an article 3 court proceeding as opposed to the military court proceeding, and is that by your preference or rights that may be viewed upon the detainee? >> i would state it in terms of where feasible we would prosecute people in article 3 courts. but then you have to go through a variety of factors. for example, the identity of the victims. is there a law of war offense that could be more effectively
prosecuted versus a title 18 offense? identity of place of capture, for example. we're working through now a variety of factors for our prosecution teams to consider in terms of what direction to go. but i think the intent is to have a flexible set of factors because it is the case that many of these detainees can be viewed to have violated those that are prosecuteable viewed to have violated both article -- both the laws of war and title 18. >> admiral macdonald, i wanted to ask you about the appeal process with a four-tier process. it seems to me that if a defendant charged with a federal crime, a u.s. citizen were charged with a federal crime somewhere in florida that that defendant essentially has one tier apell ate system from a federal court to a circuit court of appeal with a very
unlikely appeal to the supreme court. so a defendant in an american court, a citizen of this country would not have as many appealate tiers as one -- appellate tiers as one of the detainees? >> yes, senator. we are talking about conforming the commissions to the ucmj and to our court marshals process. and all of the services has a court of criminal appeals as a first tore of appellate rights. after that they appeal to the court of appeals to the armed forces, which is the first civilian court within our military justice system to which they can appeal. and after that they have the right of appeal to the supreme court. so i think what we are saying is that if you want to the extent are that you can stay faithful to the ucmj that one
way to approach it on appeal would be to allow the court of military commissions review, either military judges that currently sit on that court now or a combination of military and civilian judges that they would have factual and legal sufficiency review powers and you could go to the d.c. circuit, ases constituted today, or you could go to caff and mirror the ucmj system. either of those paths would lead you ultimately to the supreme court. now, can caff do legal or factual sufficiency? yes, senator, they can. they are very skilled jurists. if the committee -- if the bill contains and continues to contain an appeal to the caff, and that body is given both factual and legal sufficiency review, caff can do that. i think i would prefer the
current system because our military judges are used to doing factual and legal sufficiency. but if you choose to go the caff route, the caff judges are capable of doing it. >> do you have any other upations that you would make? >> no, sir, those are the two. senator mccain mentioned the -- we have to get these commissions moving and the practical aspects. and that's what really my two recommendations go to. we are finding, and this is in discussions with the chief prosecutor, they are having trouble with classified evidence. using a classified procedures act type of process, we would
import mre-505, which is to close a proceeding, a military commission when classified, close it to the public, when classified evidence is being introduced, that we would add it into to the cepa rules where we have 20 years of federal practice that our judges can rely upon, my personal opinion is that's a way to get it moving. the judges are demanding to do everything with written submission instead of what cepa allows which is an ex parte hearing where you can go in before the judge, you can get the issues resolved and then get it resolved. so that's why i recommend the committee look at the cepa-plus as a substitute talking about mre-505. i do disagree with the
administration on this. i think the committee's got it right on the reliability standard that exists in the bill. i think fundamentally there is a difference between the voluntariness standard that grew up in a law enforcement environment. that that's different than the law of war context we find ourselves in. and i'm worried that a military judge that has a voluntariness standard impose ready upon them is going to look at a statement to the point at a rifle, when a soldier goes in, breaks down the door and takes a -- takes a statement from a d detainee, i'm worried that they're going to apply a voluntariness standard to that. i think that's an apparently coercive standard when you have a rifle pointed at you. i think the judge will look at that under a strict standard
saying that statement doesn't come in. i'd rather see this as part of a totality of the circumstances leading to, is the statement inherently reliable? and what i proposed is a series of factors that would give the judge more guidance, perhaps, on how to do that >> if you have factors on it, then you should share it with us. >> yes, senator, i will. >> you are basically in agreement with the legs passed? >> yes, senator, i am. >> thank you. >> senator udall. >> good morning, gentlemen. thank you. mr. chairman, thank you. senator mccain, senator graham, i know senator reed have worked diligently on these important set of questions. i have to note, can you manage a lot of other countries in the world having this kind of discussion, it's contentious but here we set in the best
american tradition deciding something as important as this. i was a mib of the armed services committee in the house for five years and i voted for legislation identical to the bill being proposed by this committee in the year 2006 that i thought struck a balance between military necessity and basic due process. when that didn't pass i voted against the military act we are discussing here today. at the time i thought it risked tying up -- that is the bill we passed, the prosecution of terrorists with untested legal arms that didn't meet the requirements of the hamden decision. i thought it might endanger our soldiers with article 3 of the geneva conventions. i thought it might undermine basic u.s. law. given that i'm really glad we're here today looking at this opportunity to revisit this important legislation.
admiral macdonald, if i might turn to you, i was a member of the task almost three years ago and you testified about the importance ofress proits. and i want -- of reciprocity. i want to quote you. you said making a determination that if it's good enough for the united states it's good enough for us, and perhaps doing a lot of damage and harm of our service women -- our service men held and taken as a detainee. how do you think the military commission provisions in senate 1390 measure up in terms of reciprocity? are these provisions good enough for the united states in your view? >> yes, sir, senator, they are. i would get back to what senator levin said. you know, the two major points here that we have to be concerned about is the reciprocity issue, and are we creating a just and fair system. and i think we need to be prepared to take any unlawful
or unprivileged entity combat -- enemy combatant to one of these commissions. if we believe we have created a fair and just process with this bill we should not be shy about taking anyone before these commissions for i think, senator, for that reason. and i would be very comfortable having a u.s. service member subjected to these rufmentse >> thank you for that answer. in terms of sunset provisions. mr. kris, you said that the d.o.j. supports such a sunset provision. could you talk a little bit more along those lines? and then, mr. johnson, i want to hear the d.o.j.'s view on the sunset provision. >> yefment with respect to the sunset, of course, i'm not representing the department of justice alone. if is under the administration as a whole.
but our basic idea, i guess, that underlies the sunset, and we haven't specified any specific number of years, is as long as there is pending cases to continue past the sunset, that it's a good idea for congress to come back and take another look at this after the passage of sometime and see whether there have been any developments that counts for some changes or a fresh look and i think that's what it boils down to. >> mr. johnson? >> senator, i would agree with what mr. kris said, provided it doesn't jeopardize ongoing prosecutions. we think in the administration's sunset provision is a good idea. we don't have a magic period of years, but given the reality of changing circumstances on an international level and lessons that could be learned from military prosecutions in the years forward, we think a
sunset provision is a good idea. >> thank you for those insights. if i might turn to a follow-up question on comments that the chairman made in his opening statement on regarding resources for the defense side of the efforts that we're discussing today. the chief defense counsel issued a memo that i thought raised some troubling issues. and i'd be interested in using each of the panelists and whether the committee bill addresses the defense efforts appropriately. may we start with admiral macdonald and move back across? >> sir, actually i agree with the concerns expressed in the senior defense counsel's memorandum. these have been long standing concerns about resources, about access to experts. and i think it's something that needs to be addressed. i don't see anything to your
point about is it in the current bill. i don't see anything in terms of resourcing that would get at that -- that particular issue. but i do think the defense counsel need more resources. >> mr. johnson? >> senator, the legislation itself codifies a rule change we made in may in selecting his defense counsel. but in terms of resources, at present, a colonel whom i consult with often has 43 military lawyers assigned to him, five civilian, and i'm told he's authorized to go up to 52. in response to your question about can we do better, one of the things that i'm focused on, that i'm concerned about, whether or not it's in this legislation is something that i intend to push on is making sure that our defense counsel are adequately trained in
capital cases. in the civilian world you have the concept of lernered counsel. they are a.b.a. counsels of capital cases. and i think we owe it to the system to make sure that our defense counsel are adequately trained to handle capital cases. >> mr. kris, my time has expired. so if you could be succinct. i'd like to hear your counsel. >> this is primarily a defense department issue. i'd like to associate my remarks to my colleagues. one of the points is that the committee's bill follows our rule change. i don't think it defines a pool in which the choice would be made. i think that's something bed' like to work with you on. >> thank you, gentlemen, for your enlightening are testimony, your willingness to answer some important questions. >> thank you, senator udall. senator reed. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i thank the gentlemen. i'd like to clarify some issues that have previously been
touched upon. my understanding that is that in one case in 2008 that the supreme court precked a right of habeas corpus, that is the constitutional right, is that correct, mr. kris? >> yes. so there is at least one constitutional right that's been recognized in terms of enemy aliens and that is habeas corpus, is that correct? >> yes. >> and that's the only one? >> so far, i believe that's the only right. the supreme court said it applies there. >> and the issue that we talked about with respect to geography of these trials is that -- and i guess at this point get your opinion, moving some of this military commission to the united states might engender other appeals that could trigger requests for additional constitutional rights? >> i any regardless of where these cases are held there will be appeals. depending on which aplet process is adopted, and there are -- appellate process is
adopted, and there are a number of them in the bill. what results from those bills, i think what mr. johnson and i both said, is very difficult to predict. because there's been quite a lot of development in the law over the last 50 years since commissions were last used. obviously there is some standard of due process that applies to a military commission. exactly what that standard is sometimes difficult to discern. in light of developments like the decision it can be i think also increasingly difficult to be sure. i do think geography may play a role in the rights or the procedures that are required. but, again, it's hard to know for sure. >> let me raise another issue. as admiral macdonald said, the law of war is a definite detention of combatants until
end of hostilities. my impression is that hamden reserved that issue and did not decide it. is that accurate, mr. kris? >> i think you might be referring to humdee which is the result which the court recognized them to detain under the law of war. and the court left open, i think, the question of whether that authority would at some point run out. so i think that's an accurate statement. >> and i would resume that category of individuals who -- the fifth category of those have to be held because of their potential will have a right through habeus through periodically, at least, raise the issue of whether they still be detained? >> well, in fact, almost all if not all of the guantanamo debanees are suing the government in habeus. and the president said with
respect to the fifth category that there should be some form of periodic review, even subsequent to the habeas corpus proceeding. that's something we are working on now. >> frankly, one of the other reasons to move quickly but thoughtfully in this process in a military commission is that this is a way in which to ensure due process prior to a court deciding on the habeas cases, is that accurate? >> that's a fair statement. >> so i think it would serve us well with dispatch but thoughtfully on this legislation? >> yes, sir. >> admiral macdonald, you commented about the voluntariness standard and your concerns, your concerns about it would it might tend to -- i won't say confuse, but it might complicate the decisionmaking of the military judges.
but, ultimately, aren't we -- in a practical position trying to speculate what the supreme court might hold because that's why -- one reason why we're here today doing this again? >> yes, sir. i would agree with everything that's been stated this morning about how unsettled the law is in this particular area. others being to the extent which a statement is crab rated, looking at the reliability of the statement within the four corners of the document itself. my opinion is that the supreme court or federal court would recognize there are fundamental differences between a standard that grew up and a law enforcement paradigm versus one that we're trying to understand in a law of -- and a law of war
paradigm. and the reason i talk about this balancing test, this totality of the circumstances and the number of factors is i think that will provide the judge with the -- a kind of a guide post. so, for example, if you're evaluating a statement that was taken at the point of capture, you might weigh voluntariness less because it's a more coercive environment than you would corroboration and the four corners of the document. as you become more attenuated from the battlefield, for example, six months after the detainee is removed from the battlefield and is in a facility like guantanamo, then voluntariness in the judge's mind might be more important. but we will leave that to the military judge to determine on a case-by-case bay as he or she sees it. >> thank you very much, admiral. if i may have one final question to mr. johnson, is it
your intention or have you depe sided to either try -- give everyone at guantanamo some type of due process, either military commission or a trial in article 3 courts or are there some people that simply will not get any procedure at all, they will be deemed to be an enemy combatant who will be detained? >> well, putting aside anyone who has been released or transferred to another country in the future, i any it's accurate to say that the remaining population will either be detained because we've been upheld in the habeas litigation and they have been subject to that review, as i referred to a moment ago, or those who violate the laws of war that we feel we can and should prosecute in a milt commission and those who -- in
a military commission, and those will be referred to the department of justice in article 3 courts. >> thank you, mr. johnson. >> senator hagen. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you, gentlemen. over the course of many years, the former administration has released a number of detainees from guantanamo, and obviously we are hoping that there are many of the other countries will take some of these detainees that are remaining. but we need to be mindful of the fact that the countries in the region, such as yemen, are currently incameable of mitigating the threat proposed by the guantanamo bay detainees, whether they lack appropriate institutions or a counterterrorism law or just the ability to prosecute these detainees. and additionally, many countries in the region may not be willing to accept them. i think we need to work to --
with the countries in the region that have a proven track record in rehabilitating the terrorists to accept detainees transferred from guantanamo bay. and, according to the office of the secretary of defense, saudi arabia remains one of the most reliable counterterrorism partners in accepting detainees that have transferred from guantanamo bay. the saudis have institutionalized a rehabilitation program that has been developed by the interyoor of the minister to deradicalize detainees into society in sa. according to the office of the secretary of defense, efforts are under way to convince saudi arabia to accept some of the many yemeni detainees that have saudi tribal affiliations into the kingdom's rehad a bill fashion program. my question -- rehabilitation program. my question now is how is the department of defense addressing the problem that many countries in the region are simply not capable of
mitigating the threat posed by the guantanamo bay detainees and they lack the appropriate institutions and mechanisms to prosecute them? and also, can you provide your opinion on working with the countries in the region, such as saudi arabia, to accept these yemeni detainees that are transferred from guantanamo bay that share the same tribal affiliations? >> senator, i agree with just about everything you said. many people do not understand that it's not as simple as, oh, x, y, z country is willing to take the detainee back. there needs to be in place an adequate rehabilitation program where the circumstances warrant or the ability to monitor in that accepting nation so that
the detainee simply does not return to the fight. and that we minimize to the fullest extent possible any acts of recidivism for those who are transferred to release. the safety of the american people is the utmost concern. so we believe strongly that rehabilitation programs like the one you referred to are something that we should encourage, promote, and it's something we are very, very focused on. >> mr. kris. >> i agree with everything that mr. johnson said. it is absolutely essential that when we transfer these people to foreign countries that we do so under conditions that assure safety. and the rehabilitation program that the saudis have is an excellent program, from what i understand. >> senator, i would agree with mr. johnson on this.
particularly with our military members. we're concerned about fighters returning to the battlefield. it's a big issue for us. i think the way that mr. johnson characterized it is exactly right. >> thank you. also, i think that we need to be mindful that although the interrogation detainees produce valuable information and sources, we know they can compromise the ability to prosecute detainees, obviously, if the evidence obtained is through an interrogation method that would include -- that would involve torture. mr. kris, can you just describe the process in which the department of justice is reviewing the evidence associated with each of the guantanamo bay detainees to determine if they can in fact be prosecuted and how is the department of justice working with the department of defense in this regard? >> yes, i'd be happy to do that, senator.
and mr. johnson and i are working closely together on this. there is obviously the review by the task force that was set up by the executive order that makes judgments about whether cases are poe lengthsly -- potentially prosecuteable. they need to be both by the department of justice and the defense department working together to try to figure out are these cases really appropriate to indict either in an article 3 court or to bring before a military commission? and as mr. johnson and i have talked about, this is a fact intensive judgment. it requires a careful assessment of all of the evidence, identity of the victims, location of the offense and a variety of other factors. i mean, i would point out that i guess these kinds of foreign selection choices are not unfamiliar to federal prosecutors. they have to make these kinds of choices in other cases as well. whether it's between federal and state or u.s. and foreign
or even ucmj and article 3 courts. so there has to be a process in which the case is carefully reviewed and worked up by a joint team and then a judgment made about whether and where it ought to be prosecuted. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much, senator hagan. we are going to have a two-minute second round with in panel. wish it could be a lot longer. first to admiral macdonald, i didn't ask you this question the first round so let me ask you now. do you believe that our language conforms to the hamden standards? >> yes, sir, i do. >> and secondly, admiral, i think mr. johnson said that the preference here would be to have more article 3 trials. we will i think hear some
testimony that all the trials should be article 3, that there shouldn't be any military commissions. i'm wondering if you can tell us as a military man, a j.a.g. officer in the military, why military commissions at all? why not try everybody under article -- what are those circumstances that make it difficult that i think there kris and mr. johnson are working through as to why would you want to try anyone under military commissions or need to try anybody under a military commission? >> well, senator, i any again it goes back to the uniform code of military justice and federal law is designed for a different model. it's designed for law enforcement. we're in -- we're in a wartime environment. >> give us a practical parts of that environment which would lead you to conclude that we ought to have military commissions, try people, or that we need to have military
commissions? >> again, senator, it would go to a very coercive environment. we're relying upon our soldiers to go into a dangerous environment where in many instances they have to break down doors and there were -- we're worried about their safety. they're worried about it. we don't want them to have to stop and think about giving mirandaa rights or -- miranda rights. we don't want them thinking whether or not the statements they are getting from someone in a house that they've just broken into whether that statement is purely voluntary or not. i think that the supreme court recognized that in the hamden case. there are these unique circumstances that come up in a law of war environment that just cannot be handled under two different systems that were created for a completely
different reason. the other thing i would say, sir, and this is to your point in your opening about a fair and just process. i think we need to be clear. as we go forward with these commissions, we need to feel that these commissions can try anyone, anyone that fits within the jurisdictional definition that you've put in the bill that the personal jurisdiction section we ought to feel very comfortable taking anyone. now, i understand that the president has prefers article 3 courts. but in my opinion, if when where he leave here today we ought to -- we ought to be looking at this bill and saying to ourselves, it is fair and just to senator udall's question, we would feel very comfortable having our own service members tried under this kind of a process. i don't think we should kid ourselves. anybody should be able to --
any enemy combatant should be tried under this process. >> admiral, just quickly, relative to your totality of the circumstances point as to whether or not a statement obtained is coerced. in our bill, a statement that is obtained through cruel and degrading treatment is not admirable, period. what you are --ed a missible, period. what you are saying is you add a, quote, voluntary standard to that, is something that is more closely defined so the judge can take into account these factors involving warfare and the use of force, is that accurate? >> yes, senator. we pushed into 2006 to eliminate the discrimination between statements taken before december 30, 2005, the date of the detainee treatment act, and a different standard opposed to it after. your bill eliminates that
distinction. so statements taken under torture are eliminated. and c.i.d. statements, they're eliminated. i'm talking about some level of could he hergs below those two standards. >> torture is defined by the geneva convention? >> yes, sir. >> now, there's one more thing i have to clear up. there is this question of location. our bill clearly is not going to distinguish as to what the procedures are dependent on where the location of the military commission is. i mean, there's no way that our statutory language can make that distinction. i think you were pressed, mr. johnson, and i think mr. kris to some extent to define -- describe where it might make a difference. i guess in terms of a judicial or court or judge's opinion as to where depending on where the location is. i don't see that at all.
i have to tell you. i don't see how the location of a military's commission location can have an affect at all. i don't think it can nor the way we write procedures. however, on the other side of the coin if you are going to try people under article three crimes, which is your preference, there is no way practically those people can be tried in guantanamo. you can't have a jury impanelment. it takes months with hundreds of citizens dragged down to guantanamo to live where a jury is being impaneled in an article 3 case. so there are many reasons why we need to brief people if we are going to try them for comprimes under article 3, which we want to. as far as where the military commission is held, i don't see that there is a difference. you've been asked for the
record to give us any thoughts on that. of course, that request -- i know you will honor, and give some thought to. but i don't see offhand how it can make any difference as to the procedures as to where a military commission is held. that's a statement, it's not a question. i am way over my time. if you want to react to that for the record. mr. kris. >> first, i agree with you that it's hard to imagine an article 3 prosecution occurring at guantanamo. second, in talking about location, jay and i -- jeh and i have been cautious because these are difficult issues, and we will get you something for the record. but, third, i just want to make clear, despite the difficulties, our best prediction is that voluntariness will be required as a matter of due process here. it's the voluntariness standard that is based on totality of the circumstances and it's very similar, i think, to what
admiral macdonald was talking about, you have to take into account the realities of war. i think we have come to that conclusion. >> that's the administration will welcome both language from that. the bill as it stands does incorporate the geneva convention. senator graham. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think we'll find some common ground here about the evidenceary -- evidentiary standard. we both -- admiral macdonald, you described the situations very well. when you're in detention outside the battlefield, the analysis will be different than if you are in the middle of a firefight. the judge should be able to accommodate those circumstances. and i don't think there's really a whole lot of difference, mr. kris, between you and admiral macdonald. we'll get there. this location difference is important. mr. johnson, is it your view that closing guantanamo bay would be an overall benefit to the war effort, starting over on detainee policy?
>> it's my view, senator, which is also the view of the administration, but it's my view that closing guantanamo enhances national security. >> well, i would just like to maybe be a bad guy as a republican, i believe that because general petraeus, odierno and every other combat general said that being able to start over would take a tool off the table used by our enemies because guantanamo bay, quite frankly, is the best run military prison in history, do we all agree with that? the current state, admiral? >> yes, sir, i do. >> mr. johnson? >> i've been there. the professionalism of the guards at guantanamo is remarkable. i visited civilian clines -- clients in the bureau of federal prison. i believe the personnel there is remarkable. >> i, too, have visited gitmo and was impressed by it. >> the guard force families, what your ploffed one goes through every day at guantanamo
bay is a real sacrifice. that is a tough place to do duty. but having said that, it is what it is, and starting over with detainee policy i think could help the country. mr. kris, you said one of the goals of a reformed commission is to let the international community know that there's a formal legitimacy to the commission that we have not been able to have otherwise, is that correct? >> i do think it is important. and i take it to be one of the main reasons that we are doing this work, that the committee is doing d this work is to enhance the will he -- doing this work is to enhance the legitimacy. >> i can't think that given the supreme court cases that if you close guantanamo bay, move the detainees to within the united states and performed a military commission trial, like we did in world war ii, that there would be a substantial difference. what i don't want taken away from this hearing, if we close guantanamo bay and moved the detainees within the united states, that they're going to be -- they will be conferred upon them a plethora of legal
rights they wouldn't have otherwise. can y'all just address that? >> it may be helpful if we say this. there is a number of i think relatively modest differences between the committee's bill and the administration's proposal. as you said, they are not vast and we do approve of and support the bill. the changes that we are recommending we think would be ample to survive constitutional review, even if the commissions were held in the united states. >> so just the location alone is not going to change the dynamic the court would apply in a dramatic way? >> no. and we think that what we are proposing will pass muster comfortably in the united states. >> senator, we're not suggesting, and i want to emphasize that, that the full range of constitutional rights would apply depending upon location. we have referred in this hearing today to voluntariness and mr. kris is right, when you look at the suggestion from the administration on a totality of circumstances, voluntariness test, it's really not that different from what admiral
macdonald has described. >> senator, i think as you've just pointed out, this is really coming down to that particular right and the voluntariness test. i would align myself with mr. kris that bringing the military commission in terms of additional constitutional rights should not matter. and that i think we probably can reach some common ground between what i would consider to be a balancing test using voluntariness and what the administration's position is right now. >> thank you, senator graham. senator lieberman. >> thanks, mr. chairman. chairman levin asked admiral macdonald the question, a rhetorical question of, why would you try any of these people in a military commission
setting, as our bill requires? and i put your answer,ed a -- i thought your answer, admiral macdonald, was compelling. what i want to do is ask the question from a different perspective of mr. johnson, mr. kris, which is, why would one prefer, why would anyone prefer to try people apprehended for violations of the law or in an article 3 federal court, as you said, mr. johnson? i was disappointed with your answer and kind of pulled me back a little bit from my feeling of appreciation toward the administration for accepting a role for the military commissions in handling these people. i mean, the fact is that from the beginning of our country, from the revolutionary war we've used military tribunals to try war criminals or people we have apprehended, captured for violations of the law of
war. again, i think the unique circumstances of this war on terrorism against the people who attacked us on 9/11 may have led us down, including the supreme court, some roads that are not only to me ultimately unjust but inconsistent with the long history that we've had here. . >> don't misinterpret my remarks. i applaud this committee's effort and this committee's
initiative to rereform the military commissions act. i think military commissions should be a viable, ready alternative for national security reasons for dealing with those who violate the laws of war. i'm glad we are having this discussion and i thank the committee for undertaking this. and we definitely support what you're doing. the president has made that clear. when you're dealing with terrorists -- and i'm going to say this on behalf of the administration -- when you are dealing with terrorists whose aim is killing innocent civilians, it is the administration view that when you direct violence on innocent civilians, let's say in the continental united states that it may be appropriate that that person be brought to justice in a civilian, public forum in the
continental united states because the act of violence that was committed against the title 18. both alternatives should exist. >> well, i hear you. i respectfully disagree in so far as the administration has stated today a preference for trying these people in article 3 courts. based on what you've just said, we are essentially -- the effect of it is to give these war criminals, people we believe are war criminals, that's why we captured them, the greater legal protections of the federal courts because they have chosen to do something pretty much not been done before in our history, which is to attack americans, kill people here in america as they did on 9/11, civilians and
to do it outside of uniform. i think it puts us in a very odd position that we're giving these terrorists greater protections in our federal courts than we've given war criminals at any other time throughout our history, even though in my opinion, they are at least as brutal and inhumane and probably more, than any war criminals we have apprehended during the course of wars we have been involved with. it may be an act of murder to have killed people who were in the trade -- twin towers on 9/11, but it was an act of war. and the people who did that don't deserve the same constitutional protections in our federal courts as people who may have -- maybe accused of murder in new york city do -- i say new york city because the attack was there.
i'm over my time. and this is a very important discussion, which i look forward to continuing with respect with you and others in the administration. >> to follow up on that, i think it is fascinating to discuss kalid sheik muhammad and inflicted harm against americans and considers himself to be part of a political movement that we would then consider a person like that to have a preference for trying them as a criminal under title 18 in an article 3 court as oppose todd a military tribunal. and that begs the question, if we are doing article 3 trials, as the chairman was suggesting, we then also are talking about closing guantanamo by the end of the year. there's no way for 220 some odd
people to be processed through some proceeding, whether article 3 or military commissions in that time frame. will -- where will they be? and what about those acquitted, where do they go and what happens to them? would you mind touching on those issues. >> well, you're correct. you can't prosecute some significant subset of 229 people before january and so those that we think are prosecuteable and should be detained, we will continue to detain whether it's at guantanamo or someplace else. the question of what happens if there's an acquittal is an interesting question and talk about that often within the administration. i think that as a matter of legal authority, if you have the authority under the laws of war
to detain someone and the om any decision said that in 2004 that is true irrespective of what happens on the prosecution side. >> so, therefore, the prosecution becomes a moot point? >> no, i'm not saying that at all. you raised the issue of what happens if there an acquittal. in my judgment, as a matter of legal authority, there are -- there might be policy judgments one would make, but as a matter of legal authority, if a review panel has determined this person is a security threat and they've lost in their habeas and gone through our periodic review and that the person should not be released, if for some reason he's not convicted for a lengthy prison sentence, then as a matter of legal authority, i think it's our view we would
have the ability to detain that person whether in fact that actually happens would denied on the circumstances and the facts of a particular case. but as a matter of legal authority, we have law of war authority, pursuant to the authority congress granted to us, as the supreme court interpretted it, hold that person if they are a security threat and -- >> i will conclude that i truly believe that these are not criminals, these are people engaged in a very profound battle against this country as part of a nonstate actor for some of them but do not really belong -- treated as criminals, but as people that are involved in something much deeper and greater than that. >> senator udall. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i will be brief. i want to thank the three panelists for your excellent
testimony and i want to acknowledge that the civilian judicial system is working with the military judicial system and i speak as a nonlawyer, so i'm getting into deep water here, but it seems to me that judicial system, living, growing thing, if you will, and we are working to make sure it's newer turd. we have two different kinds of software systems that we are trying to integrate and understand together. i want to thank the civilian and the defense establishments for working together. any time i have remaining, mr. chairman, i pre-yielded to the j.a.g. officer, senator graham, who i thought has been very informtive with his questions and comments today. >> we do have two legal systems. habeas rights have been granted to guantanamo detainees. while i don't agree with that,
every detainee would wind up in federal court, the d.c. circuit court of appeals. supreme court ruled that the rights apply to the detainees. we need to look as a nation about creating uniformity to these rights. do we as a nation want to allow lawsuits against our own troops. medical malpractice case was brought under the old system. i think we can streamline the habeas process. there is a role. no one should be detained in america for an indefinite period of time that doesn't go to a civilian court or a military court without an independent judicial review. i don't want people to believe that folks like dick cheney said so. it doesn't bother me at all that all of our cases will go to civilian cases and the military and the cia has to prove to the civilian court that these people are dangerous and part of the
enemy. once that's been done, i think it's crazy to say you have to let them go. if our intelligence community upon a periodic review annually had believes they present a danger to this country, i think it would be crazy to say you have to let them go. but just to end, senator, udall, we need a hybrid system. we need civilian judges involved in this war because this is a war without end. as the president said last week, there will never be a definable end to this war and enemy combatant determination could be a life sentence. i don't want to put people in a dark hole forever. i want them to have a way forward. some will be able to get out of jail because they have rehabilitated themselves but some may die in jail. i want a process that is not arbitrary or based on a politician saying so but with a process with an independent jish
a. i think that's what this country has been lacking. that's not being soft on terrorism. >> there has been a discussion about trying everyone in a military tribunal or trying people in civilian courts and i think just for the record, there is a value to trying some of these individuals in civilian courts because they are criminals, because when we -- they try to claim a mantle of warrior and that is feeding in to their field out in the greater islamic world. but, in fact, they're criminals. they have committed premeditated murder and in that situation, if we can get the case effectively in court, we should not only do
that, but they should be not only convicted, but also sort of identified as criminals, not as soldiers, warriors, et cetera. there are other cases where captured on the battlefield or because of practical considerations, the military tribunal will work. do you have reaction to that? >> senator, i guess my only point would be this is that, i think we need at the end of the day to have full faith and confidence that what we're creating in this bill is a fair and just process. i am sensitive that there may be situations where going to an article 3 court, going to federal court, may be the right decision given the facts and circumstances that exist in a case, but i just want -- i think it's absolutely vital when we leave here at the end of the day, it's not because we believe that what we've created a
second-class legal system. we need to look at this that this can stand alone in the world and we are willing to be judged by what we're putting together today, and that's my only point is that you ought to feel very comfortable sending anybody to these commissions process with these changes because this is a fair and just system. rir there were american servicemen and women subjected to these procedures would be considered to be appropriate? >> yes, senator. >> thank you. i will conclude by saying what our bill does not address, does not purport to decide or address, one, we do not decide whether a person will be tried -- who's going to be tried is tried by an article 3 court or a military commission. we have been told there are going to be some of each.
we do not make that decision in this bill at all. don't try to or purport to. secondly, we do not address the question of where a trial takes place. that is not addressed in this bill. third, what we do do is address the procedures that would apply where there are military commission trials. and it's pretty obvious to me as chairman those procedures will apply regardless of where the military commissions is held. there can't be any difference in the way we write a bill on that. and i disagree with the suggestion that somehow or other it will make a difference in terms of a court ruling, supreme court or otherwise, as to whether or not a military commission proceeding is held in the united states or in guantanamo. i just, as a lawyer, cannot
imagine the supreme court or any other court saying, well, this commission was held in one place, therefore, one rule of -- constitutional rule applies. if it were held in another place, a different constitutional rule applies, given what the court has decided. i just can't imagine there would be any difference in that decision whether trial court or supreme court as to where this military commission proceeding took place. finally on the voluntaryness issue, hopefully we can come up with language on that. but neent we have language in the bill which incorporates the language in terms of coercion, in terms of whether or not a statement can be used against a defendant. thank you all very much for your wonderful testimony.
your carefully thought-out testimony will be made part of the record. we will have additional questions. and we'll move to our second panel. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- >> i would just say madam president, we are looking forward next week working as hard as we can to ensure that we have a very fine confirmation hearing in the judiciary committee for the justice nominated, judge nominated to be
justice of the supreme court by president obama, justice sotomayor. i would like to share thoughts to my colleagues as they study this issue and work to do the right thing about it. the president's nominee is, of course, his nominee. it's our responsibility, the only opportunity the american people have to know anything about this process is really the hearing in which the nominee has to answer questions and respond and senators make comments and ask questions. madam president, when we elevate one of our citizens to the federal judgeship, we give them an awesome responsibility and particularly so when they are elevated to the supreme court. they are the final word on our constitution, how those words -- how the constitution and our
laws ought to be interpretted. and some judges, i have to say, have not been faithful in their responsibilities. they have allowed their personal views and values to impact that, in my view. we asked them as judges to take on a different role than they have in private practice. we ask them to share their personal beliefs, their personal biases and ask them to take an oath. our wonderful judicial system, the greatest the world has ever seen, rests upon that first principle. it's an adversarial system. cross-examination is designed to pruse -- to pruse truth, object tive truth. the american judicial system is
founded on the belief of objective truth. this is a key to justice but it's in this post modern world in our law schools and some intellectuals tend to be of a view that words don't really have meaning. words are just matters some political powerful group got passed one day and they don't have concrete meanings. you don't have to try to ascertain what they met. indeed, a good judge, a good theory of law is to allow the judge to update it or change it or adopt how they would like it to be. and i would suggest, madam president, this is not a healthy trend in america. it impacts this nation across the board in so many, many ways, but i think it's particularly per nishous when it comes to law
if that mentality is -- takes over. so this notion of blind justice objectivity and impartial atlanta is in our legal system from the beginning and it should not be eroded. a judge takes an oath -- every judge takes this oath and it sums up so well the ideals of the fabulous system we have. the judge takes this oath, quote, i do solemnly swear that i will administer justice without respect to persons and to do equal right to the poor and the rich and that i will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all of the duties incumbent upon me under the constitution and the laws of the united states, so help me god, closed quote.
well, i guess the court hadn't gotten around to striking that oath yet, at least that part that says so help me god. but those phrases have been attacked around the country by federal judges in many, many instances. i must say that this oath -- i've got to say this -- stands in contrast to the president's standard for judicial nominees and i'm concerned based on her speeches and statements that it may also be the judicial philosophy of judge sotomayor. in 2005, then senator obama explained that 5% of cases he believes are determined by, quote, one's deepest values and concerns and the depth and bregget of one's empathy, closed quote. he means a judge's core concerns, values and empathy.
well, according to the president, in 5% of the cases where issues are close, acceptable -- i think we must draw from his statement that it's acceptable for judges to not set aside their personal beliefs, to not disregard their perm biases or dispense with their personal experiences as they make rulings and decide cases, which is what judges do. according to the president, in 5% of cases, lady justice should, we may say, remove her blindfold, take a look at the litigants, reach out and place a thumb on the scales of justice on one side or the other. i think this is a dangerous departure from the most fundamental pillar of our judicial system, judicial impartial atlanta. that's why judges are given
lifetime appointments. they are supposed to be unbiased or whatever this new empathy standard is, is not law. it is more akin to politics than law. whenever a judge puts his or her thumb on the scale of justice in favor of one party or the other, the judge necessarily disfavors the other party. forever litigant who benefits from this so-called empathy, there will be another litigant who loses not because of the law or the facts, but because the judge did not emphasize or identify with them. and what is empathy? what is empathy? is this your personal feeling that you had a tough childhood or some prejudice that you had, catholic, eggetnissity or race,
some bifes you brought with you to life and the court? it has no objective meaning and that's why it's not a legal standard. the oath of being impartial to equal justice to the rich and poor alike is violated, i suggest, when such things affect the decision-making process. so this is a stated standard. the president has nominated judge sotomayor and thus far our review of her record suggests she may embrace this president's notion of empathy and i'll share a few thoughts on this. the judge delivered a speech entitled women in the judiciary. in it, she emphasizes that she accepts the proposition that a judge's personal experiences
affect their outcome, saying, quote, in short, i accept the proposition that a difference will be made by the presence of women on the bench and that my experiences will affect the facts i choose to see as a judge, closed quote. one speech, she rejected another woman judge's view that a woman and a man should reach the same decision in a occasion case. and she rejected that concept. she re-affirms, quote, i do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judgment, but i accept there will be some differences based on my gender and experiences. it has imposed on me. so i think this would tend to be a rejection of the ideal of being impartial that is fundamental to our legal system and to our freedoms. in a later speech, the judge
takes a giant step and expressing a desire to draw upon her experiences in her judging, she states personal experiences affect the facts judges choose to see. my hope is that i will take the good from my experiences and get them into areas which i'm unfamiliar. i do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging, but i accept there will be some based on my gender and latina heritage, closed quote. well, are the days now gone when judges should see that taking office is a commitment to set aside their personal experiences and biases and views when they put on the robe? gone are the days when judges even aspired to be impartial. in that same speech which has
been given a number of times, the judge goes one step further saying, quote, i willingly accept that we who judge must not deny the differences resulting from experience and heritage, but attempt continuously to judge when those opinions, sympathies and prejudice are appropriate, closed quote. so she says, a judge should attempt to -- attempt continuously to judge when those opinions and sympathies and prejudice are appropriate. that means the judge's prejudice. it's appropriate to use them in the decision-making process. i think -- mr. president, i found this to be an extraordinary judicial philosophy. and some may say you are making too much out of it.
that empathy sounds fine to me. i don't have any problem with that. empathy is great perhaps if you are the beneficiary of it. a judge is empathetic with you, your side of the argument, but not good if you're on the wrong side of the argument. if you don't catch the judge's fancy or share a personal experience. and this approach to judging as expressed in her speeches and writings appear to have played an important in the new haven firefighters case. these were the 17 firefighters who studied for the rules and publicly set out how the promotions would take place in that department and a number of people passed, but a number of people didn't. and there was a number of minorities who did not pass and they wanted to change the test after it had been carried out -- change the rules of the game
after it had been carried out because they didn't like the results. this is a results-oriented question. bowing to political pressure, the city government looked at the test results and the statistical data and changed the rules of the game. they threw out the test. this was challenged by the persons who past. and the district judge then agreed with the city in a 48 or so page opinion. and it was appealed to judge sotomayor's court. she agreed with that decision, even though it raised important fundamental constitutional questions, really important questions. and she concluded that the
complaining firefighters were not even entitled to a trial, that the pre-trial motions and so forth were sufficient to deny them the remedy that they sought and to affirm the city's opinion. in one paragraph. the u.s. supreme court disagreed with that. they wrote almost 100 pages in their opinion and reversed. all nine justices voted to reverse the opinion. it was not 5-4. five of the justices, majority ruled that based on the facts and evidence that had been presented prior to trial that the firefighters were entitled to total victory and be able to win their lawsuit. this is a pretty significant reversal, i have to say. so the question is, did she
allow her prior experiences and beliefs to impact her decision in that case? i would just point out that she was an active member of the prn legal defense fund where she spent a number of years working on a -- cases like this and filing litigation and challenging promotion policies in cities around the country, which is a legitimate thing for a group to do, but they did take a very aggressive standard that -- criticizing test and the standardized process of testing. and of course, her stated philosophy is that a judge should use life experiences in reaching decisions and we do know that she believes that a judge is empowered to utilize his or her --
>> we are leaving the last few minutes of this speech from senator sessions for live coverage of the house. members returning for votes on measures debated earlier today. one would provide funds and furloughs and another would create a grant program to provide iron workers' training. live coverage of the u.s. house. 1129 de novo. the first electronic vote will be conducted as a 15-minute vote, the remaining votes will be conducted as five-minute
the gentleman is recognized for one minute. the house will be in order. . mr. johnson: i know some people in this chamber would consider all of the hoopla surrounding the death of michael jackson to be unnecessary and -- >> the house is not in order. the speaker pro tempore: the house is not in order. mr. johnson: i know some people consider this to not be important but it is to them. there are a lot of people out here who michael jackson brought together despite any kinds of allegations, which i considered to be false in terms of, you know, child molestation and that
kind of thing. despite of that, we have to look at the good things that michael did. and i know there are generations that preceded mine have no idea about the music of michael jackson because they never listened and don't know the international aspects of what he did. they don't know he is a fundraiser for worthy causes. the only thing they know is child molester. the man was never found guilty of child molestation. he paid a settlement, but that had nothing to do with guilt or innocence. so i just want to be -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. are there any further requests for one minutes? the gentleman from texas. mr. smith: permission to address the house for one minute. without objection.
the gentleman is recognized. mr. smith: recently, 12 separate articles in the "new york times," the "washington post" and the "los angeles times" have reported that 46 million people don't have health insurance in america. and the administration is trying to justify a government takeover of health care because of this figure, but not one of the articles explained that this number is a hoax. 14 million people are eligible for existing government programs, like medicare and medicaid. they have not enrolled. almost 10 million uninsured are not citizens. nine million have high incomes and can afford health insurance but choose not to purchase it and millions are without health insurance in a few months in between jobs. you get about 10 million people who truly need health insurance. we could buy all of these individuals a gold-plated health insurance policy for 1/30 of the cost of the president's health
care plan. the media should give americans all the facts on health care, not just give them part of the story. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania rise? >> thank you, mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that if i may be considered as the first sponsor of h.r. 1283, the military readiness enhancement act, a bill originally interviewsed by representative tauscher of california for the purpose of adding co-sponsors and rep prints pursuant to clause 7 of rule 12. yield back. the speaker pro tempore: are there further requests for one-minute speeches? for what purpose does the gentleman from minnesota rise? >> ask permission to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentleman is recognized. mr. paulsen: i call attention to
a dangerous precedent and another record that will be set this week. two weeks ago, the treasury department auctioned off $104 billion in u.s. debt. this week it will set the record of the number of auctions held in a given week. more debt means a weaker economy and stifle the housing market and hinder the american recovery. our debt has reached a level so high that the federal reserve has resorted to printing money to buying u.s. treasuries, a practice that is both dangerous and counterproductive in the long-term. it's time for congress to reign in reckless spending. it has been the status quo here in washington. our debt will continue to rise and our children and grandchildren will pay the price. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman
from texas rise? mr. burgess: ask permission to address the house for one minute, revise and stepped my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. burgess: one of the problems today in health care is that too many doctors are forced to practice defensive medicine and face lawsuits and unsustainable medical liability rates. this results in tests and procedures. seasonned medical professionals are retiring early because staying in practice is no longer financial feible, contributing to our physician workforce shortage. it's a growing crisis that is pushing affordable care beyond the reach of millions of americans. nationally across the board change in the medical justice system would lower the costs and improve care by lessening the threat of unnecessary lawsuits. the medical justice act, h.r. 1468 does that, modeled after the successful texas reforms passed in 2003. the results are documented,
reductions until liability and insurance rates, reported growth in the number of doctors licensed, increased charity care. to learn more about this very important act and how it is affecting health care in texas, please visit healthcaucus.org or my website. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. any further one-minutes? the chair lays before the house the following personal requests. the clerk: leaves of absence requested for ms. jackson lee of texas for today, ms. johnson of texas for today and ms. fallin of oklahoma for today. the speaker pro tempore: wofmente the requests are granted. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? mr. poe: i ask unanimous consent that today following legislative
business and any special orders hevert entered into, the following members may be permitted to address this house, revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material, myself, mr. poe for today, july, , ms. ros-lehtinen for today, mr. fleming for today and july 8, mr. pence for today, mr. jones for today, july 8, 9, 10, 13 and 14. mr. burton for today and july 8, 9 and 10. mr. olson for july 9. mr. inglis for today and july 13. mr. moran for today, july 8, 9 and 10. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. ms. woolsey: i ask unanimous consent that today following legislative business and any special orders hevert entered into, the following members may be permitted to address the house for five minutes to revise and extend their remarks and include thrn extraneous
materials. ms. woolsey, ms. kaptur, mr. quigley, illinois, mr. spratt, south carolina. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. under the speaker's announced policy of january 6, 2009 and under a previous order of the house, the following members are recognized for five minutes each. mr. poe of texas. mr. poe: permission to address the house for five minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. poe: madam speaker, a critically ill baby was born in canada last month, her name is ava isabel simeon. they weighed only two pounds. canada ragses health care and the government must grant permission, she was unable to get the treatment she needed to survive. shortages under a government
system means waiting lists. there was no room at the government hospitals for special-needs babies, not in canada. the little girl had no time to be on a waiting list. for her, ava's parents transported her to buffalo, new york. her life was saved by the best doctors in the world right here in america. news reports say that the intensive care unit in ontario, canada is closed to new parets half the time. half of the time, madam speaker. that doesn't happen in the united states. a case like this is not unusual. babies with special needs like being born early are usually sent to america for care. autumn, brook and were born. the girls are doing fine. they are extremely rare set of identical quad drupe lets. there was no room for them.
their parents flew to great falls, montana, so they could be born safely in america. great falls, montana, a city of 56,000 people offers better access to health care than calgary, a city of over one million people. why? government rationing. it means less access to health care unless you are on the government special favorites list. anyone who has tried to find a doctor who uses medicare knows what that's like. buyer crats tell us they survive. they cite higher mortality rates. but these countries skew the statistics. babies born in some countries are considered stillborn unless they survive longer than 24 hours. you see, they don't count. in canada if a baby weighs about a pound and they don't survive, they don't count it as a baby.
the government calls these babies unsalvageageable. what a word. there is a lot of truth in the use of that word because under a government-run health care system, these babies aren't worth saving, but they are saved in america at least for now. the health care debate in america is literally a matter of life and death. it's not about improving quality. america offers the best quality in the world. that's why everybody comes here. when a government runs a health care system it's about how much it costs and the special favorites of government are. government-run health care doesn't pay the doctors or nurses enough to stay in business. health care is rationed. government then decides who gets treatment and who loses out like the medical expert in britain i talked about earlier. she is a government decisionmaker and she said some of the elderly have a duty to die. in canada, the government lets special-needs babies just die
because they aren't worth the cost of saving. the elderly and babies aren't important to be saved. in a government-run system, the government decides who gets treatment in medicine and who doesn't. the government decides who lives, who dies. the government does not have the moral right to make those decisions. not one of the politicians who want to force the government into a government-run boondoggle is going to be denied. like the book "animal farm," all are equal, but some more equal than others. that's not what america is about. old age struggle of freedom over tyranny. when government burr cat gate keepers have control, freedom is the first carkt, just like the babies and elderly in canada. and that's the way it is. the speaker pro tempore: ms. woolsey of california. ms. woolsey: after more than six
years of foreign occupation, occupation that never should have happened in the first place, american combat troops have been withdrawn from iraqi cities. this has led some people to believe that the conflict is over. but our troops remain in danger so long as they continue to stay in iraq. and the suffering of the iraqi people, especially the refugees hasn't ended either. a report issued last month by the international rescue committee described the bleak lives of the iraqi refugees who have come to the united states to escape the violence in their home country. we admitted over 13,800 iraqi refugees in the year 2008. many of them had to come here because they worked for the united states military or the united states government in iraq
. and they became targets of retaliation as a result. a large number of the refugees are war widows with young children. they are greesking over the loss of their young ones and they are suffering war-related stress or injuries. while the refugees are grateful to be in america, most are frustrated and even in despair. the international rescue committee says, and i quote them, applaud u.s. refugee admissions program is resettling iraqi refugees into poverty rather than helping them rebuild their lives, unquote. the committee says that the federal government designed to help the refugees doesn't meet their basic needs. the resettlement program is badly underfunded and newly arriving refugees get a mere
pitance. the united states state department provides $900 to each refugees. the refuse are eligible for state assistance which various from state to state but averages about $575 a month. in addition, the refugees are eligible for medicaid or federal medical assistance programs, but the program runs out after eight months. with this tiny amount of assistance, the refugees are supposed to pay rent, utilities, food, clothes, transportation and all the other expenses of daily life. . if you were a refugee already suffering from trauma and injury could you and your family make it in a country that is as high cost as the united states of america with so little help?
the refugees are searching for jobs to help pay the bills but we know how hard that is. and in atlanta, for example, for only 25% of the iraqi refugees have been able to find jobs when they were here for over six months. resettlement agencies which received state department funding are struggling to do as much as they can and they're providing a number of very important services. but their resources are dwindling because of the recession. as a result of all these problems, madam speaker, many of the refugees are destitute and facing eviction from their homes. some are wondering if they should have stayed in iraq, even though their lives would have been in danger. madam speaker, the iraqi refugee s in our country deserves better -- refugees in our country
deserves better -- the iraqi refugee in our country deserves better. we must support them by doing more. we had a hand in their unheavele. now we must give them a hand in their new country. we have a moral obligation to act. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: ms. ros-lehtinen of florida. without objection. ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you, madam speaker. my remarks are entitled, "madoff victims are victimized again." this time by our own government. americans are he lie on the security and exchange commission, -- rely on the security and exchange commission to safeguard their stock transaction through registered broker dealers. the s.e.c., however, did not do that in the case of bernard madoff. irrespective of his receiving 150 years in prison for
life-damaging financial crimes, many americans who lost their life savings, who were first victimized as a result of the s.e.c. failures, are being today victimized a second time by our own judicial system and its quart-appoint -- court-appointed trustee. the victim's plight is compelling. think about this, madam speaker, irrespective of numerous warnings the s.e.c. received dating back 17 years, all of our federal agencies stood by and did nothing while thousands of investors deposited their money, usually their life savings, with bernard l. madoff, investment securities. in fact, after supposed investigation in 1992, the s.e.c. issued a clear cut and definitive statement of innocence about madoff's businesses. this was an unusual occurrence. indeed it may be the only time in history that the s.e.c. went as far as issuing a statement of
innocence to clear a business that it was investigating. then starting in 2002 the s.e.c. continued to ignore seven individual and specific fraud warnings by a credible financial whistleblower. again in 2004 in another government failure the i.r.s. approved madoff to be one of only 260 nonbank i.r.a. custodians, the very he place that people put their retirement money -- the very place that people put their retirement money for safe keeping. why would the i.r.s. have approved madoff if it had the legal right and the fiduciary obligation to inspect the books and the records of all nonbank i.r.a. custodians? the approval process which the i.r.s. shirked was specifically designed to prevent this exact type of fraud. as madoff's downfall exposed,
both the i.r.s. and the s.e.c. failed to inspect madoff in even the most basic fundamental fashion. unfortunately two different u.s. government agencies both seem to have given their approval for americans to invest with madoff. they indicated that he had a financial clean bill of health. now that madoff scheme has imploded, the government seems to convey the appearance of serving justice on behalf of those who were duped. through the federal bankruptcy court the government has hired a private sector attorney to act as the madoff bankruptcy trustee and will pay the trustee a fee based on his hours extended to claw back money. well, this is not what it appears to be. justice is not being served. while it is true that the trustee cannot ask for a specific percentage of the total
claude back, he can ask for any specific amount he desires and it can be based on his own internal computation using a percentage. since the trustee won't have enough man power to sue thousands of people at the same time, he will also hire society firms to assist in it -- associate firsts -- firms to assist in this litigation. all the fees charged by the law firms who are handling this case will first be paid and then the trustee will receive his fee. the government should instead offer tax or financial relief to those who were victimized. not under an arcane equity basis but based on their statement as of november 30, 2008. the i.r.s. should compute tax refunds so as to return 100% of each individual's first loss of $2 million, then 90% of their loss between $2 million and $4
million, 80% of their lost dollars between $4 million and $6 million and so forth until a 20% return level has been reached and at that point returns should remain at 20%. this would be most beneficial to smaller investors who are most impacted by their losses. if private citizens are required to reimburse other private citizens for harm they caused, why should the government be able to drastically injure people and have no responsibility to restore those individuals' positions or pay restitution to them? the sipc or the quasi-governmental body that offers insurance to those defrauded by the s.e.c. also stands to gain greatly by not paying the issue insurance. even to the casual observer, this is a potential conflict of interest. a mistake has been made and it must be corrected, madam
speaker. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from massachusetts rise? >> madam speaker, i send to the desk two privileged reports from the committee on rules for filing under the rule. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the titles. the clerk: report to accompany house resolution 609, resolution providing for consideration of the bill, h.r. 2997, making appropriations for agriculture, rural development, food and drug administration and related agencies programs for fiscal year ending september 30, 2010, and for other purposes. report to accompany house resolution 610, resolution providing for consideration of the bill, h.r. 2965, to amend the small business act with respect to the small business innovation research program and the small business technology transfer program and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: referred to the house calendar and ordered printed.
ms. kaptur of ohio. for what purpose does the gentleman from illinois rise? >> madam speaker, i ask unanimous consent to speak out of order. the speaker pro tempore: so ordered, without objection. the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, madam speaker. robert macnamara once said, you could correct a wrong only if you understand how it occurred and you take steps to make sure it won't happen again. today as we mark the passing aing of the late secretary, i think it's time to apply the lessons he learned in vietnam to our own times. he said, we are not omniscient if we cannot persuade other nations of the merits of the proposed use of that power we should not proceed unilaterally. we had to learn that lesson again in iraq. he also said, judgments of friendship and foe alike
reflected our profound ignorance of the history, culture and politics of the people in the area and the personalities and habits of their leaders. that's another lesson we learned again in iraq. secretary macnamara's vietnam regrets also extended to the home front. he confessed that, we failed to draw congress and the american people into a full and frank discussion and the debate of pros and cons of a large scale military involvement before we initiated the action. unfortunately, we did the same thing with iraq. instead of being straight with the american people, we spent years reducing the debate to a false choice between stay the course and cut and run. today, as in macnamara's time, we face the consequences of our silence. macnamara also recognized that we did not learn from his initial mistake. we stuck to the same tired plan of action even if it had minimal relevance to the situation on
the ground. quote, after the action got underway, macnamara said, unanticipated events forced us off our planned cores, we did not explain what was happening, why we were doing what we did. we have learned that same lesson again in iraq and too often find ourselves bogged down by unattainable goals and unable to explain why we are there and what we plan to do about it. unfortunately we've had to learn many of the same lessons twice. in the early years of the vietnam war, just as in the early years of the afghanistan and iraqi wars, we could state with confidence that our military was the most powerful in the world. but military stredge does not always translate into victory on the ground. secretary macnamara had learned a terrible lesson, that fighting a war without committed alleys, why planning -- planning, without public discussion and against an enemy force defendingity home territory is not a winning proposition.
in fact, in 1962 macnamara said, quote, every quantitative measurement we have shows we're winning this war. but vietnam wasn't ultimately about quantitative measures. it wasn't enough to burn out its jungles with napalm. the bigger issue was strategy, planning and foresight. we didn't know why we were fighting in the first place, nor what we were fighting to achieve in the long run. we had no perspective for which to evaluate our progress and reevaluate our goals. all we had were empty measures of troops, bombs and jets. the lesson of vietnam has had to be learned and relearned too many times. secretary macnamara finally admitted in 1995, we were in the wrong place with the wrong tactics. at this time of his passing, we should take a moment to reflect on his legacy and take steps to
ensure that the wrongs of vietnam don't happen again. the key lesson from secretary macnamara is what we do -- that we do not live in a simple world with simple solutions. military force is only one piece of the puzzle. success depends on many variables. macnamara saw this complexity in vietnam, quote, we failed to recognize an international affairs as in other aspects of life there may be problems for which there are no immediate solutions. at times we may have to live with an imperfect untiedy world. that same complexity exists in the present conflicts in afghanistan and iraqi -- iraq. we need an open and frank discussion of our goals as well as how we plan to achieve them. the american people deserve to know if we're in the wrong place with the wrong tactics. let's not sacrifice another generation to a war we think we're winning on paper. thank you, i yield back.
the speaker pro tempore: mr. pence of indiana. mr. pence: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for five minutes, revise and extend my remarks, madam speaker. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman will be recognized for five minutes. mr. pence: thank you, madam speaker. i rise today with a heavy heart. to pay tribute to a friend. and to the memory of a great man who will long be remembered across the state of indiana as a civic leader and a philanthropist whose impact will be felt for generations. for decades, john w. fisher has been a leader in the business community of eastern indiana, remembered by many as a giant of industry, john will be greatly missed not only by his family and friends but all those whose lives he touched. a native of tennessee, john was known for his athleticism, an all-american, he graduated a volunteer from the university of tennessee in 1938, but it was his connection to the ball
family that brought him to indiana. married to his beloved janice, john thought he would eventually settle in his native tennessee. however he was convinced to take a more active role in the ball corporation by his brother-in-law edmond, one of the founding brothers of that company. by then, john had earned an m.b.a. from the harvard graduate school of business and he quickly became a prominent figure in the muncie business community and all across our state. . >> he said this company has grown because he took calculated risk and immersed himself in details that most would avoid. john was elected to serve as corporate vice president in 1963 and 1970, he was named president and c.e.o. when he retired in 1986, ball
corporation had experienced a period of rapid growth, significant diversification of its products and thanks to john's leadership, its annual sales exceeded $1 billion. retirement wouldn't mark the end of his entrepreneurial spirit. until his death, john w. fisher served as chairman of the cardinal health systems, trustee of due paul university and indiana chamber of commerce, life director of the national association of manufacturers and benefactor and booster of ball state university. never one to let a good opportunity pass by, he relied on vens and insight to become involved in one project after another. when asked about his approach to business, he said, quote, i take major risks and i don't hesitate to take a look at fresh ideas especially when capable people are associated with the idea, closed quote. that entrepreneurial spirit led john to become involved in all
kinds of different businesses, furniture companies, fish farms and many things in between. john fisher seized life with both hands. john fisher will also be known for his business knowledge and remembered by friends and colleagues and those close to him as a kind-hearted man with a deep commitment to the community. the fishers donated millions to ball university and created the fisher distinguished profess orship in wellness. invested in the future, the university's fundraising campaign. the president of ball state said that john w. fishery commitment to ball state university have been unequaled in the university's 90-year history. ball memorial hospital dedicated the john w. fisher heart center in january of 2009. many will remember john for these business undertakings, but
i'll remember him as a dear friend and mentor. i first met him back in 1988 when i entered public life. since that time, our relationship has been a continuous source of wisdom and guidance to me. while he had no political ambitions for himself, he had lifelong interest in public affairs and keenly aware of the issues facing the country. active participant in muncy rote ari, he always asked a question. but having spent in many occasions sitting in john's office and learning from him about the world of business and public life and drawing on his wisdom, faith and integrity. john fisher shaped my life and my career in countless ways. john w. fisher per son fide everything that's great about the united states of america. he was a leader, generous philanthropist, doted family man and always took a stand.
john fisher is survived by his wife, seven children, 19 grandchildren and 28 great-great grandchildren. the lord tells us the lord is close to the broken hearted and so is my prayer to his family and community of friends today. one of my favorite quotes is quode, ride hard, shoot straight and be good to your fellow man. indiana lost a giant in john fisher and i lost a cheer ird friend and i pay tribute to him on the floor of the house this evening. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: mr. jones of north carolina. the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. jones: madam speaker, i rise today in memory of steve streeter who passed away in ashborrow at the age of 50. i extend to all of his family
and friends my deepest sympathy. many north carolina residents will remember steve as a north carolina university football hero who helped lead the team to the 1980 conference title. what some might not know is that steve was a star player in both baseball and football. as a student at silver west high school. as a baseball pitcher, he set north carolina high school athletic association baseball records that still stand today with a record 12 shut youths in a season, 23 wins in a season and 61 career wins. he also had eight no-hitters. steve was a good student and like his brother eric and jimmy, he played at the university of north carolina at chapel hill. at the university of north carolina, steve became the only acc player in history to earn
all-conference honors at two positions. he was the first team punter and safety for the 1980 tar heal football team, the last to win an acc championship. he had five interceptions including three in the season closer against duke university. steve was the defensive most valuable player of the 1980 blue bonet bowl with an interception that set up the winning shutdown against texas. sadly after his triumph season, steve's athletic career ended when he was involved in a freak car accident. in april of 1981 he was returning home after a try youth with the washington redskins after he agreed to sign a free-agent contract. he was hit by another car. he suffered a back injury in that accident. and was left paralyzed from the
waist down for the reminder of his life. i remember the washington red skins thought so much of steve they paid his signing bonus after the injury. although steve could no longer impress fans with his skills on the field, he made an even greater difference as he served as a role model for countless people. from this tragedy, steve became an inspiration to high school students throughout north carolina. in addition to coaching, he was appointed state field coordinate for students against drumbing driving which launched in north carolina in 1983. his car accident was not alcohol-related, but in this role, he was not only an inspiration to students but to people like me. while serving in the north carolina general assembly i had the privilege of interviewsing steve several times when he spoke to students in my
district. i'm certain that he benefited from the love and support from his family and friends because despite his accident, he never showed the pain of what he had lost. steve touched many of us young and old in such a positive way that his life will never be forgotten by those of us who had the privilege to know him. steve streeter was an outstanding individual and he will be dearly missed. with that, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: mr. spratt of south carolina. mr. burton of indiana. mr. inglis of south carolina. mr. moran of kansas. for what purpose does the gentleman from california rise? mr. issa: i ask unanimous consent to speak out of order for five minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. issa: today is july 7, 2009. today would have been the 24 birthday of my own nephew
william louis issa. last week i attended his funeral. he had a connection to this house because he worked both in cleveland, his home, and here in washington for his congressman dennis cues -- kucinich. in his passing, i lost a nephew. cleveland lost somebody who cared about the environment, passion nationality about the wilds, who has graduated from college and going on to law school to be an environmentalist, to seek what liberty allows us in this country, which is the right to feel and do what you think is right for your country. i speak from this side of the center of this body and i speak about somebody who i disagreed with on many policies. as a young man while he was
summering here and staying at our home, he wanted me to know that the eating of meat was wrong and if i wasn't a vegetarian then i wasn't getting it and he admired dennis kucinich and he felt strongly on a host of other issues. but mostly he felt strongly about individual choices. his choice was a prius and tried to do everything for a sustainable's coling as he saw it. when i thought about coming and using his nexus to speak on what would have been his 24th birthday, i thought it appropriate to say that from the left and he certainly was a child of the left, perhaps a child of the 1960's reborn in the next generation and from someone on the right, i wonder
if we shouldn't come together the way this young man did with everyone he met and talk in terms of america's liberty. what, in fact, is this body doing, not to pass new laws. that's not what we were sent for, but to defend the inherent constitutional obligations, life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. i believe he ended his life far too soon and without accomplishing what he would have had he lived longer. tonight, i will tell you i am brought to the house floor for the third time in eight or nine years to say those on the left and those on the right, we need to recommit ourselves, at a time when we are talking about regulating co-2, where we regulate the highways, waterways, 8% tax on health care to pay for the new health care
proposal, well so much of what we once thought of the free wild, wild west of the united states has been changed, particularly post-9/11. i wonder if this wouldn't be a good time for men and women of good conscience on both sides of the aisle to say shouldn't we relook at every liberty, shouldn't we form a liberty caucus, shouldn't congress be dedicated to ask the question not as republicans or democrats but in fact as americans sworn to uphold the constitution? isn't it time we start looking at every single law we pass and the regulations they produce and find out how many we could do without out, not liberal or conservative laws, but all of them. i believe that is the highest calling for those of us here in congress. and i will tell you tonight, perhaps as a small tribute to my nephew, that i will reach out
and i will ask every democrat i see and all of my colleagues on this side of the aisle what have we done in fact to defend liberty, what have we done to give somebody the right to decide they want to spend three months with wolves in the wild or they want to go out and save our delicate ecosystem from the unnatural twisting that 300 million people in america bring upon the world, that liberty is important. it's important that we pay tribute to every chance we have and can. i thank you for the opportunity to in a small way talk about liberty and a man who would have fought for it. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: under the speaker's announced policy of january 6, 2009, the gentleman from iowa, mr. king, is recognized as the designee of the minority leader.
mr. king: i appreciate the privilege to be recognized here on the floor of the house of representatives. we had a break here to go back home and spend some time on the 4th of july to celebrate the birth of our great country, 233 years of freedom. a lot of that freedom has been debated, deliberated and argued over here on the floor of the house of representatives in this world's greatest deliberative body. the most costly freedom that we sacrificed on this soil and in foreign lands as well, for this nation to emerge what has been and had become a strong and vibrant constitutional republic. part of the requirements to maintain that strong and vibrant constitutional republic are that. we engage in debate here and that we bring together and aggregate the best ideas of the 300 million americans that elect the 435 memrs